The Spending Spree, Three Years Later

Scouting the Trade Market: Scott Baker
Entire coaching staff will return in 2012

Bumping this back up top because it quickly got buried by the Hiroyuki Nakajima news this morning.

(Nick Laham/Getty Images)

This is RAB’s fourth year at the Winter Meetings and my third year, personally. The first time we were here was the 2008-2009 offseason, which is easily the most memorable winter in recent Yankees memory. Brian Cashman famously left Las Vegas and headed to Northern California to put the finishing touches on CC Sabathia‘s contract, and a few days later they added A.J. Burnett to the mix as well. Nick Swisher had joined the team a few weeks earlier, and Mark Teixeira was still a few weeks away from spurning the Red Sox at the last minute.

That was a franchise-altering week, one that contributed to the 2009 World Championship and still affects the Yankees’ moves today. They’re reportedly willing to eat money to move Burnett and the two years left on the contract he signed during that week in Vegas, and the opt-out clause Cashman gave Sabathia in NorCal resulted in a new extension a few weeks ago. The Yankees are flirting with a $195M payroll at the moment, thanks in large part due to the 2008-2009 offseason.

“We had a lot of money coming off of our payroll in ’08,” said Cashman to reporters yesterday. “So the decisions we made in the winter of ‘09, that was kind of like our 2010 and 2011 Winter Meetings combined. We’re still living off a lot of those decisions that we made that winter, and it’s benefited us. We’ve improved our club or tried to in various ways since then, but that obviously was a big, defining winter for us, no different than what Miami seems to be trying to do right now for them.”

Cashman stuck with the company line yesterday, reiterating that he is not optimistic about making any kind of significant deal this week. The team appears unwilling to open its wallets for anything less than a pitcher they consider a frontline guy in the AL East, but maybe that would be different if they didn’t already have so much money on the books. That’s the downside of selling out for big name free agents three years ago, though the upside was oh so good.

Scouting the Trade Market: Scott Baker
Entire coaching staff will return in 2012
  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    ….and 2009 made it all worth it. I love having these “big market team,” “27-time World Champion” problems.

  • LiterallyFigurative

    The Yanks don’t need to make splashes. George is no longer in charge (R.I.P.).

    When looking at the Yankee team, the most you could say they NEED is a #2 or #3 starter. And given the good (but not great) options, it’s best that they sit tight for now. If the right deal comes, take it.

    The spending spree of 2008 gave the Yanks their #1 starter, a potential #2 who has been horrible, decent, then back to horrible, then comes up big when you least expect it, and their 1B, who even with this falling average still produces top 10 HR and RBI #’s yearly and plays stellar defense. Most teams can only get one of those guys a year, if at all.

    Now, I do think the money is part of the reason they aren’t going crazy, but what would be the point? To win the back pages from who? To sell tickets?

    Steinbrenner willingness to spend + Cashman’s rational GM-ship = at worst the second best assembly of talent in the sport.

    • Jose M. Vazquez..

      Who is first?

      • Peter Gammons


      • LiterallyFigurative

        Maybe Philly due to depth of rotation. Completely splitting hairs though.

  • Gonzo

    I remember going nuts when I found out Tex was coming to NY. It was so freaking fantastic. I was resigned to the fact that he was going to the Sox. Then out of nowhere…BOOM, merry christmas.

    • Mister Delaware

      Its weird that I remember where I was for Teix (in-laws living room over Christmas) and Burnett (bus) but I have no idea about CC. I was 1,000% behind all three signings. I am now less than so on atleast one, hopefully not two.

  • smurfy

    They just interviewed Joe G, and he made his nice baseball guy impression again. I wish he could relax, tell himself he’s made it to the big time, anyway. Of course, he’d have to shrug off Harold’s opening question asking where his braces are, and he slipped the embarassment smoothly, saying that Don Mattingly is now the one, and we all know he’s cool.

    Better if he giggled a little and mugged his new smile. If I were writing his script here, it would have read, “Nah, nothing’s doing. We already got a great bunch, and we’re just looking for progress from each. Next year, we want to hit in the clutch better, pitch in the clutch better. We want this team to gel even more, to work together, to get it done!”

    • smurfy

      If he were sharp, like some of you whipsnappers, he woulda said,”Yeah, had them off a long time. Didn’t you see me in the games down the stretch? Hafta get the PR department to see more press releases to you guys. But, now I understand how you work: you don’t watch the games, you just comment.”

  • Brian S.

    Have we traded Burnett yet?

    • smurfy

      No, but I heard they’re gonna make him a reliever. He’s home, working on the Eck split.

      • Brian S.

        He can work on these nuts. I can’t wait until we Derek Lowe his sorry 5 ERA/FIP ass.

        • smurfy

          For difficult nuts, he’ll probably just use the hammer.

  • Stratman9652


  • smurfy

    The pitcher, in French Canadian, is the “lanceur.” I guess so, but wouldn’t “grenadier” be better?

  • Jesus

    Latest reports have biggest offer to Pujols at 10/220. Yes, I know these news reports can be wrong and out of no where he could sign for more than Arod. But at that price why wouldn’t many teams be interested?

    The Yankees have Teixeira at first and too bad he has a no trade clause because while adding Pujols to share DH/1b with him probably won’t happen, he’s an upgrade over Teixeira who is going to make $22.5 mil per year for the next 5 years.

    Too bad Teixeira has a no trade clause, plus it is doubtful any team would want him at that contract. If the Yankees traded him (assuming he agrees) and sent say $27.5 million (so it would be $17 mil for the next 5 years for the team that gets him), how does that impact yearly payrolls? Would the $27.5 million count now or be spread out across the 5 years? If all now then the concerns about 2014 payroll would be lessened when adding Pujols.

    Maybe Cashman and Epstein (wanted to sign him as the Red Sox GM) could hook up and send Teixiera to the Cubs maybe in return for Soriano and $26.5 million.

    Maybe its a 3 way deal with Soriano going someplace that only has to pay him a few million per year for the next 3 years, Cubs send cash along with Soriano, and the Yankees get some minor leaguers and the ability to sign Pujols for 1b.